Rossini: L´Inganno Felice

Rezension

L’inganno felice is a semi-serious opera that has retained its popularity over the years. This production of the work was recorded in the summer of 2015 at the Rossini in Wildbad Opera Festival. The performance was a resounding success, thanks to the direction of Jochen Schönleber, the vigorous conducting of Antonino Fogliani and the presence of bass Lorenzo Regazzo in the role of Tarabotto, the true star of the moment, supported by a splendid Silvia Dalla Benetta as Isabella.

Pietro GENERALI: Adelina

Rossini: Il viaggio a Reims

Rezension

Im vergangenen Jahr hat die rekonstruierte Fassung der Rossini-Oper Guillaume Tell als Live-Mitschnitt und Weltersteinspielung bei NAXOS weltweit Aufsehen erregt. Nun haben sich die Macher des Festivals Rossini in Wildbad etwas Neues einfallen lassen, um Rossini-Fans rund um den Globus zu begeistern. Mit Il viaggio a Reims liegt nun ein weiteres Rossini-Hauptwerk erstmals in vollständiger Fassung eingespielt vor. Dirigent Antonino Fogliano und seine hervorragenden Virtuosi Brunensis richteten sich bei vorliegendem Mitschnitt nach der kritischen Ricordi-Edition, die eigens für diese Aufführung von der Fondazione Rossini abgesegnet worden war. Höchste Weihen also und garantierte Authentizität erwarten den geneigten Rossini-Freund mit diesem 3 CD-Set, das ähnlich wie Guillaume Tell im vergangenen Jahr für viel Wirbel in der Opernpresse sorgen dürfte.

Rossini: Guillaume Tell / DVD

Rezension

Musicians and critics realized soon after its 1829 Paris Opéra premiere that Rossinis Guillaume Tell was a far-reaching masterpiece. And yet some of the features that made it so unique have militated against it entering the standard repertory. The 1992 critical edition made a complete Guillaume Tell, even an ur-Tell possible, but still not many companies have performed the work without substantial cuts. The first complete DVD release of the works original version finds the Rossini in Wildbad Festival, celebrating its 25th anniversary, performing Tell for the first time in its entirety.

Rezension II

The costumes look like they were picked at random off the rack of a Goodwill store. Four hours is a long time to gaze at people who don’t seem to know how to dress. The ballet scenes are gruesome. Remember when Walt Disney choreographed the Dance of the Hours from La gioconda with dancing hippos? Only that thought gave me pleasure as the sadly clad athletes went hopping up and down, sprinting back and forth etc.
The caliber of singing starts out very high. Spyres impresses at the beginning, and Howarth initially reminds one of Montserrat Caballe, and there are not many sopranos about whom such a thing could be said. The singing fails to soar over the long four hours of the opera, however; no doubt the singers lost heart in view of their surroundings. On the blu-ray release that came out simultaneously (filmed the same year) the production values improve as the evening goes on, and the singing ascends with the surroundings. The blu-ray also has state-of-the-art surround sound, whereas this DVD has only stereo PCM. The DVD was the first recording of the opera to follow the critical edition of 1992, but the blu-ray was filmed only a few months later and the timing there is actually few minutes longer.
The booklet summarizes the approach of the production: “Tell … may be a great man, but a complex one, and he is not so very likable.” Schiller and Rossini would have said, “Tell may not always be likable, but he is a truly great man.” For that approach, check out the blu-ray with Florez, who does himself proud.

Rossini: La gazza ladra

Rezension

La gazza ladra (The Thieving Magpie) marked a culmination of the convergence of serious and comic elements in Rossinis work. The result is an ideal hybrid: a tragic opera with a happy ending that rises to the status of true opera seria. It remains one of Rossinis greatest and most successful operas, a constant repertoire presence since its triumphant 1817 Milan première. Alberto Zedda, who made his conducting début in 1956, produced the first critical edition of La gazza ladra, and is widely acknowledged as one of the worlds foremost authorities on the operas of Rossini.

Rezension II

Naxos has done it again! On the heals of its release of a winning recording of Rossini’s epic Guillaume Tell, comes this wonderful recording of La Gazza Ladra, which is probably Rossini’s finest opera in the semiseria genre. It concerns the plight of a servant girl who is wrongly accused of stealing a silver spoon and is condemned to death. Fortunately in the nick of time the true thief, the thieving magpie (la gazza ladra) of the opera’s title, is discovered and all ends happily, but not before the audience is plummeted into the depths of despair thinking that all is lost for the poor girl.

Opera semiseria is a mix of the comic and tragic. In that aspect it is similar to Mozart’s Don Giovanni which likewise has a mix of varied emotions. With Mozart there is always the specter of the tragic percolating under the surface. However, Rossini being Rossini, he tempers the proceedings with a more optimistic outlook. Still, each opera is a roller coaster ride of virtually all the possibilities inherent in the human experience. Furthermore, in both operas the penultimate scene is a dark hued and powerful tour de force. In a sense both operas are harbingers of the verismo era which was not to manifest itself in earnest for decades to come.

Rossini opens the piece in dramatic fashion with the overture’s infamous stereophonic double snare drum fanfare. It is interesting to note that several of the overture’s themes reappear in the opera proper with interesting and attention grabbing effect. When the curtain rises we find ourselves in a rustic atmosphere that reminds us that one of Rossini’s favorite compositions was Haydn’s The Seasons. Only this is a version of rustic revelry that ratchets up the action several levels from the Haydnesque model. However, as the piece progress things darken and Rossini uses his famous crescendi to draw the listener into the action. With their repetitive ostinato phrases and rhythms these crescendi heighten the emotions and create an aura of excitement that literally grabs the listener. This is no more evident than during the ensemble that concludes the courtroom scene where the audience learns that the heroine’s fate is sealed. All this cumulates in a tragic march to the scaffold where the persistent beat of even more ominous drums is once again heard. The juxtaposition between that and the next scene where it is discovered that it is actually that awful avian (quella gazza maledetta) who is the real thief is the ultimate study in contrasts. Still the roller coaster ride continues and for a fleeting moment the audience is led to believe that the execution of the innocent girl has indeed taken place. When that is discovered not to be the case, the jubilation that concludes the piece knows no bounds.

The opera was premiered in 1817 in the aftermath of the Napoleonic wars and as such is a reflection of its time and place. The whole Euorpean continent had just been subjected to a situation similar to that of the characters in the opera. Yes, real everyday people being placed in the middle of the most awful of predicaments was something with which the public was able to identify. That the piece ends on such a high note was something that public needed to experience given the ravages of war to which they had recently been subjected. In some respects one needs to put their mindset into the psyche that permeated that era to totally appreciate what Rossini was saying with this piece. As such the opera proved to be one of Rossini’s most popular. In fact the opera became so popular that Pushkin replicated one of its scenes when he wrote his Boris Godunov, which scene was incorporated into the Mussorgsky opera of the same name. A back door instance of Rossinian influence on Russian opera!

Regarding the performance it is as fine as exists on CD. That it is conducted by Rossini scholar Alberto Zedda who produced the critical edition of the score for the Rossini Foundation insures an aura or authenticity. This is his second recording of the piece and since that original1970’s recording he has not only somewhat changed his approach, but the cast of singers are more adept with the Rossini style and embellish their vocal lines differently. In addition the sound quality if a bit bright is a significant improvement over his previous recording which is anyway now out of print. Therefore, anyone who owns that recording can feel free to get this never version without any reservations.

In summation the singing in this set it totally stylish. The Ninetta has a vivid soprano sound that warms up splendidly as the performance progresses. The Gianetto is likewise very fine with a fluent bright tenor sound. The bass who portrays Gottardo has a dark sound that is appropriate for the part. The Fernando has a contrasting lighter bass voice that can sound slightly rough at times. The Pippo is excellent and the supporting cast does as well as any. Even the Lucia does a nice job with her little aria intended as a break in the action. I would rank this performance as being better in sound quality and performance than the Sony recording which offers some overly rough vocalism in the soprano role and some less than pleasant sounds from the tenor. There is also a recording on the Dynamic label that has a cast of singers that perform on a similar level to this Naxos version. I find the sound quality of that version to be ever so slightly warmer and a bit more natural as opposed to the more upfront sound of this release. It is the difference between a balcony and front row center perspective and ultimately a tossup. I own all three versions and prefer both the Naxos and Dynamic to the Sony.

In the final analysis this Naxos set is definitely a contender and a no brainier at the asking price. In fact with few exceptions all the recordings in the Naxos Rossini opera series are contenders. As such, Rossini is smiling somewhere up there indeed!

Guillaume Tell

Rezension

Performed for the first time in its original uncut version, this production of Guillaume Tell was the jewel in the crown of the 25-year history of the ‘Rossini in Wildbad’ opera festival. Rossini’s final, great, operatic masterpiece is a story of liberation, the oppressed Swiss attaining their ideal of emancipation by hounding the tyrannical Habsburgs out of their country. Although it was composed for the complex demands of the Paris Opéra, numerous dances, choruses and arias were dropped for reasons of practicality. These are restored in the present recording which also includes the stunning finale of the shorter 1831 version of the opera.

Mercadante: I Briganti

Rezension

Die Veröffentlichung der Weltpremiere von Mercadantes 1836 nach Vorlage von Schillers „Räubern“ geschriebenen „Briganti“ ist für jeden Freund vergessener Belcantowerke ein Grund zur Freude, denn bei diesem Live-Mitschnitt des Wildbad Festivals 2012 stimmt einfach alles: Ein vergessenes Meisterwerk wird wiederbelebt, erstklassige Kräfte garantieren eine durchgehend hochkarätige Aufführung und obendrein ist die klangliche Qualität (eine Seltenheit bei Opern-Liveaufnahmen) ausgezeichnet. Libretto gibt’s leider wieder mal keines, aber immerhin eine gute deutsche Einführung und Inhaltsangabe, zudem kennt man die Story ja. Die Briganten stehen stilistisch zwischen fioriturgesättigter Rossini-Manier und der dramatischen Verknappung des Stils durch Donizetti und den frühen Verdi, wobei es Mercadante schafft, ein befriedigendes Nebeneinander von vokalem Höchstanspruch und szenischer Stringenz zu erreichen. Die Oper wurde für einige der damals weltbesten Kräfte geschrieben: Grisi, Tamburini und Rubini. Umso erfreulicher ist es, dass sich die drei jungen und noch nicht sehr bekannten Protagonisten allesamt hervorragend behaupten: Vittorio Prato überzeugt als agiler, extrem koloratursicherer Schurken-Bariton, Petya Ivanova verfügt über erstklassiges technisches und emotionales Material und der junge lyrische Tenor Maxim Mironov lässt einen schon in seiner Auftrittsarie mit drei perfekt in der voix mixte intonierten zweigestrichenen Es (!) staunen. Einzig Bruno Pratico`s Stimme in der für Lablache geschriebenen kleineren Rolle des alten Grafen scheint etwas in die Jahre gekommen zu sein. Auch Nebendarsteller, Chor und Orchester merkt man das Engagement und die Begeisterung für dieses gelungene Werk durchgehend an. Im Vergleich zu solch einem Feuerwerk sehen die Routineaufführungen renommierter Häuser und „großer“ Namen oftmals gehörig alt aus. Nicht jede Opernaufnahme, die Naxos in den letzten Jahren herausgebracht hat war überzeugend, aber hier ist dem Label ein echter Volltreffer gelungen. Klare Kaufempfehlung!

Semiramide

Rezension

Diese SEMIRAMIDE ist perfekt………!

Obwohl es bisher schon einige Aufnahmen von Rossinis SEMIRAMIDE gegeben hatte, ist ein Großteil davon nur eingeschränkt brauchbar. Die bis heute erhältliche, gekürzte DECCA Aufnahme mit Joan Sutherland in der Titelrolle z.B. weist in den übrigen Besetzungen große bis größte Defizite auf, und die Live-Gesamtaufnahme mit Gruberova und Florez hat technische (nicht gesangliche!) Mängel, die den Operngenuss stören. Diese Aufnahme aus Bad Wildbad ist komplett, sie ist LIVE (man hört die Begeisterung des Publikums – was jedoch nicht stört!) und sie hat hervorragende Sänger, die die Rollen ausfüllen.

Alex Penda, die erst kürzlich (Herbst 2012) in Hans Neuenfels “Gärtnerin aus Liebe” an der Berliner Staatsoper einen großen Triumph gefeiert hatte, singt diese schwierige Partie der Titelrolle erstklassig, ohne Abstriche. Und John Osborn (der Pollione an der Seite Cecilia Bartolis als Norma, in Salzburg) als Idreno zeigt, dass es für diese Rolle auch noch andere Möglichkeiten als immer nur Florez oder gar nichts gibt.

An der Rolle des Idreno hing es in früheren Jahrzehnten, warum man dieses Werk nur stark gekürzt aufführen konnte: es gab keine Sänger, die diese Partie ganz hätten singen können (siehe die DECCA Aufnahme!). Jetzt gibt es dafür wieder Sänger, und sie werden Gott sei dank mehr.

Diese Live-Aufnahme bringt nicht nur die ganze Oper – sie bringt auch die Rossini-Stimmung aus Wildbad, eben weil das Publikum auch zu hören ist. Hätte man das Publikum entfernt, wie es manche große Labels bei ihren Mitschnitten machen, dann wäre dadurch der Charakter der Aufnahme verändert worden.

Fazit: eine Triple-A Semiramide, die darüber hinaus noch den Vorteil bietet, dass sie im unteren Preissegment verkauft wird.

Le Siege de Corinthe

Rezension

Rossini und Wildbad gehören einfach zusammen. Sicherlich sind viele seiner Opern im Repertoire jeder größeren Bühne zu erleben doch atmen die Bad Wildbader Aufnahmen Lebendigkeit, Freude und Faszination. Der SWR ist ein hervorragender Partner bei den Einspielungen doch Orchester Solisten und Chor sorgen letztlich für die entstehende Begeisterung, die auch im “Siège de Corithe” spürbar sind. Vielleicht bringt Naxos ja einmal eine Wildbader Gesamtausgabe heraus. Auch diese Aufnahme lohnt sich!

Otello

Disc: 1

1. Otello, opera: Act 1. Sinfonia
2. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 1. Introduction. Viva Otello
3. Otello, opera: Act 1. Recitative. Vincemmo, o prodi
4. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 2. Cavatina. Ah! sì, per voi già sento
5. Otello, opera: Act 1. Recitative. Rodrigo!… Elmiro!
6. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 3. Duet. No, non temer, serena
7. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 4. Scene and Duettino. Inutile è quel pianto
8. Otello, opera: Act 1. Recitative. Vorrei, che il tuo pensiero
9. Otello, opera: Act 1. Recitative. Ma che miro?
10. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 5. Chorus and Finale 1. Santo Imen! te guida Amore
11. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 5. Chorus and Finale 1. Nel cor d’un padre amante
12. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 5. Chorus and Finale 1. Ti parli d’amore: non essermi infida
13. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 5. Chorus and Finale 1. Che brami?
14. Otello, opera: Act 1. No. 5. Chorus and Finale 1. Parti, crudel

Disc:2

1. Otello, opera: Act 2. Recitative. Lasciami… È dunque vano
2. Otello, opera: Act 2. No. 6. Air. Che ascolto? ahimì, che dici?
3. Otello, opera: Act 2. Recitative. M’abbandonò, disparve
4. Otello, opera: Act 2. No. 7. Scene and Duet. Che feci?… ove mi trasse
5. Otello, opera: Act 2. Recitative. Non m’inganno; al mio rivale
6. Otello, opera: Act 2. Recitative. E a tanto giunger puote
7. Otello, opera: Act 2. No. 8. Terzetto. Ah vieni, nel tuo sangue vendicherò le offese
8. Otello, opera: Act 2. Recitative. Che fiero punto è questo!
9. Otello, opera: Act 2. Recitative. Desdemona! Che veggo!
10. Otello, opera: Act 2. No. 9. Finale 2. Che smania. Ohimè!
11. Otello, opera: Act 3. No. 10. Scene, Air, Duet and Finale 3. Ah!… Dagli affanni oppressa
12. Otello, opera: Act 3. No. 10. Scene, Air, Duet and Finale 3. Nessum maggior dolore
13. Otello, opera: Act 3. No. 10. Scene, Air, Duet and Finale 3. Assisa a’ piè d’un salice
14. Otello, opera: Act 3. No. 10. Scene, Air, Duet and Finale 3. M’ascolta… Oh Dio!
15. Otello, opera: Act 3. No. 10. Scene, Air, Duet and Finale 3. Non arrestare il colpo…

L’italiana in Algeri

Disc: 1

1. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: No. 1. Sinfonia
2. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 2. Introduzione. Serenate il mesto ciglio / No. 3. Cavatina e S
3. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 4. Recitativo. Ritiratevi tutti
4. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 5. Cavatina. Languir per una bella
5. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 6. Recitativo e Duetto. Ah quando fia
6. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 6. Recitativo e Duetto. Se inclinassi a prender moglie
7. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 7. Coro. Quanta roba! Quanti schiavi! / No. 8. Cavatina. Cruda
8. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 9. Recitativo. Già ci siam
9. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 10. Recitativo e Duetto. Ah, Isabella, siam giunti a mal partit
10. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 10. Recitativo e Duetto. Ai, capricci della sorte
11. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 11. Recitativo ed Aria. E ricusar potresti
12. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 11. Recitativo ed Aria. Già d’insolito ardore nel petto
13. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 12. Recitativo. Vi dico il ver
14. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 13. Coro nel Finale 1. Viva, viva, il flagel delle donne
15. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 14. Duettino nel Finale 1. Oh! Che muso, che figura!
16. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 15. Quartettino nel Finale 1. Vo’ star con mia nipote
17. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 1. No. 16. Settimino nel Finale 1. Pria di dividerci / No. 17. Seguito

Disc:2

1. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 18. Introduzione. Uno stupido, uno stolto
2. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 19. Recitativo. Amiche andate a dire all’Italiana
3. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 20. Recitativo ed Aria. Qual disdetta e la mia
4. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 20. Recitativo ed Aria. Oh come il cor di giubilo
5. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 20. Recitativo. Ah se da solo a sola
6. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 21. Coro. Viva, il grande Kaimakan
7. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 22. Recitativo, Coro ed Aria. Kaimakan! Io non capisco niente
8. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 22. Recitativo, Coro ed Aria. Ho un gran peso sulla testa
9. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 23. Recitativo ed Aria. Dunque a momenti il signor Mustafà
10. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 23. Recitativo ed Aria. Per lui che adoro
11. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 24. Recitativo e Quintetto. Io non resisto più
12. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 24. Recitativo. Con tutti la sua boria
13. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 25. Aria. Le femmine d’Italia
14. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 26. Recitativo. E tu speri di togliere
15. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 27. Recitativo e Terzetto. Orsù: la tua nipote con chi crede
16. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 27. Recitativo e Terzetto. Pappataci! Che mai sento!
17. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 28. Recitativo e Coro. Tutti i nostri italiani ottener dal bey
18. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 28. Recitativo e Coro. Pronti abbiamo e ferri e mani
19. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 28. Recitativo accompagnato. Amici, in ogni evento m’affido a v
20. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 29. Scena ed Aria. Pensa alla patria
21. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 31. Finale 2. Dei pappataci s’avanza il coro
22. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 32. Quartetto nel Finale 2. Non sei tu, che il grado eletto
23. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. No. 33. Seguito. Son l’aure seconde
24. L’italiana in Algeri (The Italian Girl in Algiers), opera: Act 2. Stretta del Finale 2. Mio signore… Mio marito

La sposa di Messina